Hi-Lift Jack Service & Rebuild

Oct. 03, 2012 By Jaime Hernandez
One of the most useful tools found in a trail rig is the Hi-Lift Jack. Its simple design and quality craftsmanship have kept it alive for over 100 years. This handy tool is a lifesaver if you ever get stuck or need to change a tire in the dirt. The benefit becomes two fold when you are dealing with a lifted 4x4. Most factory bottle jacks will no longer reach.

The Hi-Lift Jack’s 4,660 lbs. rated capacity gives it an authoritative capacity to safely service most 4x4s, Jeeps and trucks. Our Hi-Lift has been in service for over 20 years and it’s still very useful.

Used for anything from pulling post, clamping freight and winching, the Hi-Lift Jack is a must-have trail companion for the serious off-roader. Most of the time the Hi-Lift Jack will be the first choice when it comes to recovery, even when a winch is available. With a quick and easy setup, slow and steady wins the day.

The Hi-Lift Jack helped us get across the Rubicon Trail and was very useful in tight sections where a winch was not an option. 

To make sure the Hi-Lift Jack is in good working order, a little TLC goes a long way. Regardless of how often your Hi-Lift is used, or where it spends most of its time (on the 4x4 or in the garage), it’s important to make sure the Hi-Lift Jack is in tip-top condition and ready to work. 

Sometimes cleaning dirt and mud off the jack and adding a little lubrication is all that is needed to get your Hi-Lift Jack working smoothly again. It’s also a good time to inspect for any damage. 

Hi-Lift recommends applying light lubricant, such as WD-40 to the working parts.  In addition to lubricating, the WD-40 will also help remove gunk, penetrate and loosen stuck parts, and prevent rust and corrosion.

One thing to note, Hi-Lift recommends NOT lubricating the beveled end of the climbing pins nor the holes in the upright steel standard. You don’t want to create a slippery slope for the Hi-Lift to slip from. In other words, don’t go crazy with the WD-40 – only spray the noted areas in the diagram below.

The Hi-Lift Jack diagram shows lubrication points as well as part numbers available for purchase from Hi-Lift for repair. This multi-purpose jack is fully serviceable. Not the case for cheap imitations.

After cleaning and lubricating the High-Lift Jack, run it up and down the upright steel standard to see how it feels. It should work better than before. 

If the Hi-Lift is still getting stuck or doesn’t feel smooth after cleaning and lubricating, it might be time to rebuild. If you look closely at the components, there’s a chance the climbing pins may be rusty, the springs are fatigued, and the coating on moving parts has weathered away. Luckily Hi-Lift sells a servicing kit that replaces the most common wear and tear pieces, helping bring your Hi-Lift back to life.

The Hi-Lift “Fix-It-Kit” comes with new climbing pins, springs, cross pins and safety shear pin to replace the most common pieces that get wear and tear. Over 20 little components are available for purchase through your local off-road dealer or directly through Hi-Lift if you should need to replace additional pieces.

Below you will find an overview of what it takes to rebuild your Hi-Lift Jack.

Step 1: All working parts should be cleaned prior to replacing any parts. We used some brake cleaner and a rag to get the job done.

Step 2: Place the reversing latch in the up position. Using a hammer and punch remove both old cross pins.

Step 3: The Climbing Pins can then be removed along with old springs. One of our cross pins was slightly bent, so we had to wiggle it out using some pliers.  

A comparison between the old Climbing Pins (left) and new Climbing Pins (right). The pins themselves are similar, but the new zinc-coated pins, springs and hardware are much more weather resistant and smooth.

Step 4: Once both climbing pins are out, to re-assemble simply reverse the process.  Install the climbing pin spring, then the climbing pin. Make sure the bevel on the end of the climbing pin is facing “up” in relation to the lifting unit.

Step 5: The climbing pin springs are held back by the cross pins. Run the cross pins through until they are equally aligned on both supports, leaving a 1/16” clearance between the Cross Pins and bridge of small and large runner.

Step 6: A small amount of lubricant should be applied to the climbing pins where they make contact with the bridge of the runners. Do not lubricate the beveled end of the climbing pins nor the holes in the upright steel standard.

Step 7: Last but not least, replacing the shear pin is as easy as removing the old one. If the old pin is bent, it may be necessary to drive it out with a hammer and punch. The new safety shear pin can be inserted through the holes in the small runner and pitman.  Tighten the hex nut to complete the job.

There you have it, complete maintenance and rebuild for your Hi-Lift Jack—all under $20. Now it’s ready for even more years of service and it works just like new.

To further help protect your Hi-Lift Jack, a fitted neoprene cover is available to ensure the running gear stays dry and away from the elements. These Hi-Lift Jack covers especially come in handy if you keep your Hi-Lift mounted on the truck full-time.  It will ensure minimal dirt gets in and that the running gear stays lubricated and protected.  In addition to keeping your Hi-Lift weather proof, they also work in limiting the rattling and vibration sounds sometimes produced on bumpy trails. That alone makes it worth looking at.


We didn’t get into aesthetics, but if your Hi-Lift is old or just showing some surface rust, you can either touch it up with some rust proof paint or let it be. There’s nothing wrong with a little patina or signs that your Hi-Lift Jack has seen some action. It builds trail cred.

Hi-Lift Jack

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